College & Workforce Readiness

Undocumented Students: What You Should Know About Us

By Lesli A. Maxwell — March 06, 2012 1 min read
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Undocumented high school students from San Diego have written a powerful letter to describe the worries they live with every day as they approach turning 18 and moving on from the somewhat sheltered environment of being in school. While the polarizing debate over immigration rages on in state houses, the federal government, and in the courts, these students explain very poignantly and plainly why they see few promising prospects for their future once they get out of high school.

The students’ letter, addressed to “Whom It May Concern,” was written with the help of their teacher, Mary Jewell, and is on today.

Read it.

It’s a sobering and important reminder that when politicians and advocates bicker about whether undocumented students should receive the same access to public higher education, for example, there are real kids trying to cope with the barriers of having no legal status in this country, despite having grown up here.

They want their teachers to truly understand what they are up against.

Teachers like Ms. Jewell know it all too well. As she writes in her introduction to the letter, she has seen “their joys at academic success and college acceptance and their heartbreak at the deportations of family members.”

At the heart of the students’ message to their teachers is the following statement from the letter:

Talk to us about college and careers the same way you would with your other students. Encourage our dreams and goals, please. Someday the politicians will figure out what to do with us, and we need to be ready."

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.